The idea of Pepper Content germinated in a dormitory of BITS, Pilani. The story of the founders was similar to that of average Indian teenagers who wanted to pursue engineering.
The founders realized a shared passion for content. It was clear that for brands, smartphones and the Internet had changed the principles of customer engagement and experience principles. More than 700 million Internet users, businesses included, were accessing and consuming different forms of content daily. However, access to quality content was not as easy.
“We asked ourselves that if, in this instant noodle economy, items like food and medicine get ordered and delivered at the tap of a button, then why can’t content be treated and delivered the same way? Every company in the world has a content need. In today’s day and age, this opportunity stands at a staggering $400 billion globally. This was when we began the B2B content marketplace, Pepper Content, in 2017,” said Anirudh Singla, co-founder and CEO, Pepper Content.
The co-founders with limited resources, ongoing classes, assignments, and exams, persisted in achieving their dreams. In 2017, the company received its first order of 250 articles on automotives. Pepper Content enables marketers to connect with the best writers, designers, translators, videographers, editors, and illustrators, and vets the marketplace’s creative professionals using its AI algorithms to make the right match between business and creative professionals. To support its creators, Pepper Content has invested in building tools that augment their ability and make them more productive, and one of its key productsis currently being used by over 200,000 users across 150 countries. The company has on-boarded over 1,000 enterprises and fast-growing startups, and works with over 2,500 customers, including organizations such as Adani Enterprises, NPS Trust, Hindustan Unilever, P&G; financial services, and insurance companies such as HDFC Bank, CRED, Groww, SBI Mutual Fund, TATA Capital, and technology firms such as Binance, Google, and Adobe.
According to the co-founders, Pepper Content is not a startup or an agency but a platform that connects people seamlessly. The company aims to create the perfect symphony between creators and brands when it comes to content. The company is enabling strategic collaboration that will have a tangible, on-ground impact.
The co-founders always wanted to take a product-first approach which meant understanding the nuances and solving for every use case. The first products were hyper-customised sheets with deep linking of formulae and scripts that enabled the company to piece together workflows. The team worked on 25,000 content pieces on Google sheets and docs in the initial stages that helped the co-founders understand the customer workflow.
Businesses can directly order quality content on the platform with faster turnaround times and complete transparency on the project’s progress. The company’s intelligent algorithms take care of all the management aspects: from finding the best creator-project match to running agile workflows and driving integrated tool-supported editorial checks for quality content delivery.
“The content marketing industry stands at $400 billion, globally and it is only going to scale further. However, no organised players are enabling seamless workflow for brands. Every company produces and outsources content in written, image, audio, and video formats. To date, companies are required to post requirements, bid for projects and choose from a large list of bidders, and negotiate pay, making it cumbersome and, frankly, unscalable. We are solving this by offering a managed marketplace. We take care of entire content operations, right from the ordering flow to end-to-end delivery. For companies, quality content delivery creates trust and for creators, takes care of timely payments and operational inefficiencies,” said Rishabh Shekhar, co-founder and COO, Pepper Content.
The co-founders struggled in the initial days since they did not know anyone from the investor community. “We cold-emailed 80 VC and angel investors! There were a lot of questions and conversations about the company’s scale and our age. It took us three months but we persisted and were oversubscribed for the seed funding round. Over the years we scaled a B2B content marketplace, built a product that was unheard of, and have credible investors backing us. We realized that age is no hindrance if your vision is clear and you have a product that creates real impact.”
The company has gone on to witness massive growth, going from $500,000 ARR to about $8 million in run rate. In the last 14 months, Pepper Content has grown 16 times. The co-founders intend to bolster the company’s presence in the US market and diversify offerings to newer categories such as graphic design, language translations and video content creation. The company also aims for a high double-digit ARR growth by the end of this year and working backwards from a 100 million ARR target by December 2024.
Original post: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/432915